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18 June 2014
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Doug Petrie with weaponry. Grrr!
Doug Petrie
Buffy producer's inside guide

The Initiative
Buffy goes Bond as THAT set is unveiled.

BBC : Now we come to your own first script of the season. Did you have much freedom to work with and develop the Initiative concept, or did Joss define that early on?

Doug Petrie: The answer to your question is both. Basically Joss built the sand box and then he said to me, “Go play within these parameters, go play.” I'm an enormous James Bond fan. I love the scene in True Lies where Tom Arnold and Arnold Schwarzenegger are just talking about kids and life and all this stuff and they're walking deeper and deeper into the bowls of this giant covert government complex. Also I'm a big fan of the Marvel Comics’ Nick Fury, agent of Shield and all the 60s spy stuff. I knew that I could just go wild with the Initiative in terms of the specifics of it and was given a set that was just an eleven year old boy's dream set.

BBC : What is the story behind that set, because it is one of the most incredible ‘real’ sets ever seen on TV. Was it a hanger or a warehouse?

Doug Petrie: Yeah, it's called Skunk Works and it's a little bit north, I believe, of LA (according to The Watcher's Guide 2 it is also known as the Lockheed/Legacy complex). It's where they build Stealth bombers. So it is a secret government complex (laughs). Gareth Davis, our producer, told me about this and I became very excited. So did Jim Contner (the director) and Joss. They said what I dreamt they would: "Don't be afraid to go big. Use your imagination. Do it, go there. This is a big budget movie." We really saved our ammo and we had a little money saved up.

We knew that at the end of Act Two we were going to have these college guys just kind of laughing and scratching and getting into an elevator, and when they come out of the elevator they're in this enormous complex. In a new world, something you've never seen on this television show. It was - just speaking personally, watching the episode and the filming of the episode - one of the big thrills of my career, that moment.

We got on the internet when it was broadcast on the east coast - which is three hours ahead of us - and we timed it. We waited for the internet response at the commercial break when they revealed the Initiative and we got four or five responses in a row where someone just logged on and wrote “Whoooa!” - lots of vowels all in a row - it was very, very satisfying and just a thrill. Huge fun.

Read our episode guide to The Initiative >>

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